Taiwanese researchers investigating sleep apnea have discovered that those with the condition are also at elevated risk for developing glaucoma.
Scientists at the Taipei Medical University reviewed National Health Insurance medical records for 1,012 patients aged 40 and above who were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea between 2001 and 2004. Their patient records were matched against a like control group of 6,072 strong. What the study team discovered was that those with sleep apnea were nearly 1.67 times likelier to develop open-angle glaucoma within five years of diagnosis.
With glaucoma affecting some 60 million people worldwide and sleep apnea occurring in approximately 100 million, such results should get providers seriously thinking about running tests for both conditions and warning at risk-patients respectively. As of now, The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all adults should get a baseline eye exam from an ophthalmologist by the age of 40.
"We hope that this study encourages clinicians to alert obstructive sleep apnea patients of the associations between obstructive sleep apnea and open-angle glaucoma as a means of raising the issue and encouraging treatment of those who need it," wrote the authors of the study, led by Herng-Ching Lin, PhD, of the College of Medical Science and Technology at Taipei Medical University.
The study was published in the latest edition of journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
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